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New Jekyll museum shines in sneak preview
 wwolfe  / 

It’s a cliché, but clichés get to be that way for a reason — with Jekyll Island’s new Mosaic museum, you have to see it to believe it.

The official grand opening is April 27, but Saturday evening a cocktail party sneak-peak took place for donors to the multi- million dollar effort that got the museum to where it is today.

With catering by Halyards and music by the Jekyll Island Big Band, donors got a look at the exhibits featuring prized artifacts of days gone by, along with interactive and hands-on displays that will no doubt draw children’s attention as they weave through the museum.

Mike Hodges, chairman of the Jekyll Island Authority board, framed Mosaic as an extension of Jekyll’s reawakening in the modern era.

“The revitalization of Jekyll has been underway now for a little more than 11 years, and during that time the Jekyll Island Authority’s completed many public-private projects,” Hodges said. “Some are big and easily recognizable, like our beautiful convention center and our beach village. But equally important to our board are smaller projects that balance development with continued public use of Jekyll Island. Those projects are our public parks, handicap access to all our venues, and certainly all of our conservation initiatives.”

Hodges said the goal for the board is to improve the island experience for guests and residents, without changing the characteristics that make Jekyll what it is, and that the Jekyll Island Foundation has been an important partner in in that process. One example given was the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, which Hodges called a gamechanger.

“A lot of people think the next gamechanger for Jekyll Island is this beautiful museum that we’re celebrating tonight, Mosaic,” Hodges said. “I don’t know if any of you had the opportunity to see this building before and after — if you did, the only thing you can say is, one hell of a transformation. It is really something to brag about. We think that the museum will add an important new dimension to Jekyll Island, and it will be an attraction for years to come, and our Authority is really glad to be a partner in it.”

Boog Candler, chairwoman of the Jekyll Island Foundation, thanked Southern Company Gas’ Hank Linginfelter and The Brunswick News’ Buff Leavy for their work raising money for the museum, calling them both hardworking Georgia gentlemen.

“When it was time for the Jekyll Island Foundation to knock on doors and tell the Mosaic story, Hank Linginfelter and Buff Leavy led the way,” Candler said. “Thank you Hank and Buff for your leadership, time and talents as co-chairs of the Jekyll Island Foundation Mosaic Campaign.”

She added that she believes Mosaic to be an exciting addition to the Jekyll Island experience.

“The renovation of this historic building and the innovative recreation of the Jekyll story, throughout this space, represent a new opportunity for students, teachers, parents and visitors to explore the magic behind this amazing island,” Candler said.

JIA Executive Director Jones Hooks said there’s still a little tweaking left and details to resolve before the official grand opening. However, he said he believes that Mosaic, like some other projects on Jekyll, retains the character of the island.

Hooks said, “I hope as you’ve been through the Mosaic tonight, you realize why Mosaic — it means a blending of not only the natural resources, but also the human resources that make Jekyll Island special.”

Paulk Park agreement, Neptune Park trees on agenda for county commission work session
 tcooper  / 

Glynn County Commissioners are expected to discuss a proposed agreement between the county and Coastal Outreach Soccer over the use of a newly renovated Paulk Park on Tuesday.

“(The renovation project) went before the finance committee, and then the principal individual with the Community Outreach Soccer organization, Shawn Williams, decided he wanted to step back and not pursue this at this time,” said county commissioner Mike Browning. “Now, as I understand, he’s coming back to the table.”

The program uses Howard Coffin Park without paying a fee, an agreement going back to the city’s ownership of the park. Instead, members help maintain facilities they use and provide community service volunteer work.

Initially, county officials said they planned to offer a similar arrangement at Paulk Park once renovations were complete.

Williams, the program’s executive director, withdrew from the project in February after members of the county’s finance committee raised concerns they had heard from other soccer programs in the area. He said he didn’t want to put the county commission in an awkward position or make it seem like Coastal Outreach Soccer was getting anything for free.

As it’s already been through the finance committee, Browning said a work session seemed like the proper venue for further discussion.

“I felt like it was better for him to come back to a work session because it’s already been through the finance committee,” Browning said. “I feel like we need to have a more robust decision about what’s going on here and how to move forward.”

Also on the agenda is a discussion of a new policy governing the naming of public facilities.

“As far as I know, we’ve never had a policy in place to name facilities,” Browning said. “When we named the lake at Blythe Island Regional Park in honor of our past county clerk, Cindee (Overstreet), we got some requests to name some other things around the county — in particular to name the fishing pier in Blythe Island Regional Park.”

The request came from the park’s advisory board, he said, which recommended naming the pier after a late former county employee and board member who served the county well for a long time. There’s little doubt the county will honor their request, he said, but it seemed like a good opportunity to establish a policy and put it through its paces.

“There’s been a committee working on the policy for the board,” Browning said. “They’ll propose something to the board. If we approve, then if someone wants to name something in the county after somebody we can pull that out and go to work on it.

In other business, commissioners are expected to discuss a recent proposal for dealing with two historic trees in Neptune Park.

Last month the county sought insight from a fourth arborist on what to do about the trees. Daniel Lippi, a master arborist with Advanced Tree Care in St. Augustine, Fla., gave a differing perspective from the other three.

Instead of cordoning them off, nursing them back to health with fertilizer and moving the picnic area under their canopies to another location, Lippi told county officials they could reopen the existing picnic area as soon as they took certain measures.

He recommended the county gradually trim away specific limbs, amounting to a total of around a quarter of both trees’ canopies. Larger lower limbs could be braced to keep them from falling.

“It seems as if people are favoring the Lippi approach,” said commissioner Peter Murphy.

Also on the agenda is discussions of a new grant program offered through the Coastal Regional Commission, on which Browning represents the county, an update on a project to relieve flooding in the College Park neighborhood and a presentation from Keep Golden Isles Beautiful on an upcoming citywide cleanup event.

The meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday on the second floor of the Harold Pate Building, 1725 Reynolds St. in Brunswick.

Man pleads guilty to methamphetamine trafficking
 wwolfe  / 

Five people pleaded guilty in felony cases over recent weeks in Glynn County Superior Court, including one man who admitted to methamphetamine trafficking.

Troy Gene Whittle, 33, for his plea to the trafficking offense March 22, received a sentence of 10 years in prison, to run concurrently with a sentence resulting from a probation revocation.

Jewell Edward Hayes, 20, pleaded guilty April 4 to theft by taking, which was from an incident Aug. 26 in which — according to the indictment — he opened up a key lock box and stole a 2018 Nissan Murano off the lot at Awesome Nissan.

In exchange for the plea, Hayes received a sentence of 20 years probation.

Christina Marie Lovett, 40, pleaded guilty April 4 to serious injury by vehicle. According to her indictment, the crime occurred May 27 when, while allegedly intoxicated, she caused a wreck that resulted in a serious injury to a man’s arm.

Lovett received a sentence of seven years in prison and eight years probation.

Tarik T. Brown, 38, pleaded guilty Monday to false imprisonment.

He originally faced seven charges, including aggravated assault in violation of the family violence act and aggravated battery in violation of the family violence act. He received a sentence of eight years probation.

Dylan David Rowe, 20, pleaded guilty April 4 to one count of sexual exploitation of children — he was indicted on 20 counts regarding possession of video files depicting boys engaging in sexual acts.

The plea has yet to be fully processed and he’s not yet received his sentence.

The crime carries a sentence range of five to 20 years.

A day for patriots

The spirit of America was alive and well Saturday on St. Simons as the Patriots’ Day celebration took place at the Casino. The celebration honors not only the first battles of the American Revolution — Lexington and Concord — but also the the Frederica Naval Action, which happened three years to the day of the battles of Lexington and Concord. The ceremony included music, speeches by students dressed as Georgia patriots and a musket and cannon salute by the Elijah Clarke Militia and Brier Creek Militia that echoed around Neptune Park. After the ceremony, the Parade of Patriots took place in the Pier Village.